Disney and Lucasfilm announced last year Carrie Fisher would appear in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” through the use of unused footage J.J. Abrams shot on “The Force Awakens.” News broke in March the footage would be primarily used in the new “Star Wars” movie to strengthen the relationship between Fisher’s Leia and Oscar Isaac’s Poe, but Abrams has now revealed to Vanity Fair the footage will also be used to reunite Fisher with her daughter Billie Lourd on screen.
Lourd has played a small role in “Star Wars” since “The Force Awakens” as a Resistance officer named Lieutenant Connix. Abrams told Vanity Fair he purposely wrote Lourd’s character out of the scenes with Leia because he figured it would be too hard for the actress to have to recreate scenes with her late mother’s character and then watch them in the film. It was Lourd who refused to let Abrams cut her role in these moments.
“And so, there are moments where they’re talking; there are moments where they’re touching,” Abrams said of Fisher and Lourd in “The Rise of Skywalker. “There are moments in this movie where Carrie is there, and I really do feel there is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know, classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way, because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would.”
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Abrams ended up re-writing certain scenes in “The Rise of Skywalker” script so that Fisher’s “Force Awakens” footage could be seamlessly integrated into the story. For reshoots that were needed, the lighting and set design were matched between the “Force Awakens” footage and the new “Skywalker” footage to have the look of the film remain consistent.
Fisher’s brother Todd previously praised Abrams at the beginning of 2019 for the way he figured out how to bring Fisher into the new “Star Wars movie.
“There’s a lot of minutes of footage,” Todd Fisher told “Good Morning America.” “I don’t mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That’s what’s going to give everybody such a great kick. It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday. We’re not allowed to talk about the details of anything, but we’re thrilled at what’s been done.”
Disney will release “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in theaters nationwide December 20.